Council Procedures – Watton Town Council

 Council Powers

A parish council may only act where it has the powers to do so. Listed below is a summary of the main powers of parish councils, this is not a definitive list. It is important to note that the existence of a power does NOT imply a duty, e.g. the power to maintain a footpath does not mean a council has a duty to maintain any particular footpath. If you are in any doubt please contact us for more information.


  • Power to provide allotments and a duty to provide allotments if demand is unsatisfied.

Burial grounds, cemeteries and crematoria:

  • Power to acquire, provide and maintain.
  • Power to agree to maintain monuments and memorials.
  • Power to contribute towards expenses of burial grounds and cemeteries provided by others.


Power to make bye-laws for:

  • Pleasure grounds
  • Cycle parks
  • Baths and swimming pools
  • Open Spaces and Burial grounds
  • Mortuaries and post-mortem rooms
  • Markets maintained by the parish council
  • Charities: Right to appoint trustee to some parochial charities.


  • Power to contribute to the cost of a Churchyard in use.
  • Duty to maintain a Closed Churchyard where duty has been transferred by the church.


  • Power to provide public clocks.

Commons and common pasture:

  • Power to protect any registered common with no registered owner.
  • Power to contribute to cost of scheme for registration and management of commons.
  • Power to provide common pasture.

Conference facilities:

  • Power to provide and encourage the use of facilities.

Crime prevention:

  • Power to install equipment/ establish a scheme for crime prevention.

Ditches and drains:

  • Power to deal with ponds, ditches and drains containing filth or a matter prejudicial to public health.


  • Power to employ staff to carry out council functions.

 Entertainment and the arts

  • Power to provide public entertainment & premises for giving entertainment.
  • Power to develop & improve knowledge of the arts.


  • Power to erect flagpoles.


  • Power to repair and maintain public footpaths.


  • Power to accept gifts.


  • Power to provide and furnish buildings for public meetings & to contribute to the expenses of another parish council or person providing such facilities.
  • Power to provide and equip premises for indoor sport or physical recreation or for the use of clubs having athletic, social or educational objects.


Power to:

  • light roads and public places.
  • maintain parking places.
  • light roads and public places.
  • maintain parking places.
  • enter into agreement to dedicate & widen highways.
  • provide traffic signs and other notices.
  • plant and maintain roadside verges.
  • contribute to cost of traffic calming by highways authority.
  • instigate use of & need for local roads & traffic control.

Information and Advice:

  • Power to provide information for the public about local services.
  • Power to help voluntary organisations providing information & advice.
  • Land: Power to acquire by agreement, to appropriate dispose of land.

Legal Proceedings:

  • Power to prosecute and defend legal proceedings.


  • Power to provide litter bins.


  • Power to promote local lotteries.


  • Power to borrow money.
  • Power to raise money from the Council Tax by precepting on the Borough/District Council.
  • Power to invest in statutory securities.


  • Right to be notified of planning applications and to comment.

Public lavatories:

  • Power to provide and maintain lavatories.


  • Power to acquire land for or to provide recreation grounds, public walks, pleasure grounds & open spaces & to manage & control them.
  • Power to provide indoor facilities such as sports centres, swimming pools etc.
  • Power to provide outdoor facilities such as pitches for team games, athletic grounds etc.
  • Power to provide boating ponds.


  • Power to provide public seats on the highway.



  • Power to provide and maintain shelters for general public use and bus shelters.


  • Power to encourage tourism.


  • Power to establish local car sharing scheme
  • Power to make grants for bus services benefiting local elderly or disabled people.
  • Power to make grants to local community bus services
  • Power to subsidise taxi fares for eligible local residents.
  • Power to publicise information on local public transport services.

Village Greens:

  • Power to maintain village greens.

War Memorials:

  • Power to maintain, repair, protect and adapt war memorials.

Water Supply:

  • Power to utilise well, spring or stream and to provide facilities for obtaining water there from.

S137 General Expenditure Power

If any situation is not covered by one of the specific powers listed above, power to spend money on purpose in the interest of and direct benefit to the parish or its inhabitants.